The Giants and left-hander Amir Garrett are in agreement on a minor league deal, reports Robert Murray of FanSided. The Beverly Hills Sports Council client will also receive an invite to Spring Training and would make a salary of $1.35MM if in the majors.
Garrett, 32 in May, has had some good years in the big leagues but his 2023 was a struggle. He started the year with the Royals and made 27 appearances for that club. His 3.33 earned run average in that time looks good at first blush, but the underlying numbers were less impressive. He struck out 25% of batters but also gave out free passes at a massive 17.9% clip. His 85.2% strand rate helped him keep some runs off the board but his 5.56 FIP and 5.10 SIERA suggested regression was due.
The Royals didn’t want that luck to run out on their watch so they released Garrett in July. He landed a minor league deal with the Guardians and made five appearances for their Triple-A club but walked four of the 21 batters he faced before getting released from that deal as well.
The control is clearly a problem but it’s nothing new, with Garrett having walked 13.2% of the batters he’s faced in his career overall. He’s still managed to be effectively wild at times, though, having racked up 67 holds dating back to his 2017 debut. He has a 26.4% strikeout rate and has also kept 44.8% of batted balls in the ground in his career. He averages in the mid-90s with his fastball and sinker but throws his slider around half the time.
He was at his best with the Reds from 2018 to 2020, posting a 3.60 ERA over 156 appearances. He struck out 30.2% of opponents in that time while keeping his walks down to 11.6%, still high but not disastrously so. He also was working in fairly high-leverage spots, earning 49 of his holds in that time. But his results have backed up in the three most recent seasons, with the control gradually getting worse.
It’s possible that Garrett has been victimized by the three-batter minimum, which was first implemented in 2020. He has held lefties to a line of .204/.327/.349 in his career whereas righties have slashed .248/.348/.465 against him.
The Giants have one established lefty in the pen in Taylor Rogers but there’s a path open for a second. Ethan Small has just four big league games of experience while Erik Miller has none. The only other lefties on the 40-man roster are Robbie Ray and Kyle Harrison, who are both starters and Ray won’t even be healthy to start the season. If Garrett looks good in camp or perhaps during the minor league seasons, the Giants could find a way to use him.